Writing 101: The Things We Treasure

The things we treasure.  Things, people, material, non-material, the list is endless.

Some things you treasure today may not be as precious tomorrow.  This is especially so for material items.  In most cases when you treasure a person, that treasure will be for life.  The love a parent has for her child remains forever.  Her child (or children) are her lifetime treasure.

Bolster - Image credit http://www.minime.com.my/

For material things, as far as I remembered, as a young child, my treasure was my bolster.  It gave me comfort holding on to it and hugging it to sleep. Bolster – Image credit http://www.minime.com.my/


As I grew older, my treasures were my board games of scrabbles and monopoly.  Image credit http://www.ananseproductions.com/taking-apart-scrabble/


Finally this is my treasure. Bluey has been with me for the last fifteen years. He sleeps with me and travels with me.

My most-prized possession is a teddy bear named Bluey.  I used to travel quite a lot at the prime of my career, spending nights in hotels away from home.  I wanted something personal on my bed.  He is a bean bag teddy bear, brown but for some reason, I named him Bluey.  Whenever I travel, he comes with me.  For long haul flights, he is my pillow.  Often times I wondered if anyone would find it weird that this middle aged lady still carries her ‘toy’ with her but I just chose not to be bothered with what others think as long as I feel good, feel safe and feel at home.  My Bluey is my comfort.  He would still be in perfect condition if not for my dog who sometimes went silly and nibbled my poor Bluey.

The things we treasure has no price tag.  Our children, our treasure too has no price tag.  My treasure is not any diamond, gold or any precious gems.  It is something I hold dear in my heart, even old and worn.




 What is your most-prized possession?




For our final assignment, tell the tale of your most-prized possession. If you’re up for a twist, go long — experiment with longform and push yourself to write more than usual.

via Writing 101: The Things We Treasure.


This may not be a second hand story but it is a story close to the writer’s heart who over the years have heard from family and friends with similar viewpoints.  The things we treasure is not necessarily diamond or gold.

via Daily Prompt : Second-hand stories

Writing 101 : A story told by a twelve-year-old

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.



It was a cold day.  Thank God I wore triple layered.  I could not remembered when dad last washed my blue jumper which kept me warm for the whole of this winter.  I wore a singlet inside my blue jumper and outside I have a brown pullover knitwear.  It used to have  a string dangling out but Mrs Pauley tied and knotted it.  She said a stitch came loose and never to pull it or the jumper will fall apart.

Mrs Pauley was the lady that lived across the road.  She was kind to me.  One day many years ago when I was five years old, she chased away the bigger kids that punched me to the ground and calling me “nigger”.  She dressed my wounds and I asked her what was a “nigger”.  She said it was a word that nasty white people used on black people to tell them they were different.   She told me never to be ashamed of my color.  Since that incident, I learned that “nigger” is just a word.  I am a “nigga” and when I think of kind Mrs Pauley, a white lady with a wrinkled face I am not afraid of that “n” word.  It can no longer hurt me.

I saw a police car and two policemen and Mr Brown, her landlord went inside the house.  I sat there on the stoop across the street and watched.  I hoped they won’t hurt Mrs Pauley.  She had been very sad since Mr Pauley died and I knew she had no money because she spent all her money buying medicine for Mr Pauley.  She told me she has six sons but I have never seen any of them.  Maybe Mrs Pauley talked to me because I am the only boy living in this block and she never minded that I am a “nigga”.

Then all these people came out and Mrs Pauley too.  She wasn’t crying but she looked sad.  I wanted to go across but Mr Brown looked so fierce and those policemen were big men and I shivered.  Are they taking her away?  I plucked up my courage, stood up and walked closer .  Mrs Pauley smiled at me.  She got into the police car carrying a torn luggage.  She turned her head and looked back as the car moved and I waved goodbye.  I felt very sad.  Mrs Pauley did not cry so I too must not cry.  I did not know where they are bringing her but I will always remember good old Mrs Pauley who taught me never to fear the word “nigger”.  One day when I am old enough to work and earn money, I am going to the police and find Mrs Pauley and bring her back home.

“Dear Momma―Wherever you are, if ever you hear the word “nigger” again, remember they are advertising my book.”
Dick Gregory, Nigger

via Daily Prompt : Local color

Love in 400 words

Love makes the world go round. Though no facts or figures proven, love can make one sink or rise. It is a powerful emotion.

There are many kinds of love all evolving around emotions, the care for another human being or an item. It can be a parent’s love for a child, siblings love, friendship, a couple’s love or love for a pet. It can also be love for material things which is sometimes good, most times bad. Love can become obsessive and an addiction.  As the saying goes, the love of money is the root of all evils.  Money is a means to an end but when one gets greedy that’s when love snaps and tragedy steps in.

In most cases a child is born out of love. In this destructive world some children are conceived through rapes not love. Some are born into a world of suffering and having to fight all odds to stay alive in poverty.  Irregardless of the nature of one’s birth whether born poor or rich, as long as there is love, there is survival. Love surrounds even in the most war-torn countries. Lives may be hard but everyone is capable of giving love. Love is caring, love is giving, love is comforting.  All these equal encouragement and hope in the darkest hour.

A new born child comes into the world with no expectations.  That child yearns to be loved.  Love to be fed, love to be cuddled and in return the child chuckles exuding love and bond to the carer.  Love is all it takes to create peace and harmony.

Love is free to give but priceless to receive.  Love is a two people thing. It takes one to give and another to receive. It may be one-sided in some cases.  When someone gives all the time, is there any point in time when the giver surrenders in exhaustion? Will there be a time when the receiver gets too much love?  If only there is a balance.  Some people are so blessed with love while others are deprived of love.

True love is unconditional and rewarding. When one gives and not expect, the reward is the inner sense of satisfaction from doing good deeds to your fellowmen, sharing and caring for the less fortunate in making the world a better place to live.

What does love means to you in four hundred words?

via Writing 101 : Don’t Stop the Rockin’
Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop.
Four-hundred words. One at a time. Go.

Writing 101 : What is your worst fear

Life is precious.
Life is short.
In good times
the moments pass
far too fast.
In bad times
they linger on.


When you love
be it a family,
a friend or a pet
you grow so attached
with their presence
often taken for granted.


Life is precious.
Life is short.
Cherish your loved ones
you never know
when they won’t be there


The passing of a loved one
is my worst fear.




via Writing 101: Your Personality on the Page
What are you scared of?  Address one of your worst fears.  If you’re up for a twist, write this post in a style that’s different from your own.

Writing 101 : Your voice will find you

Body art is a true form of art.  I first attended this annual event five years ago and attended every year thereafter.  Unfortunately for reasons not known (perhaps lack of funds or sponsors) at the event last year, the organizers announced there will not be an annual show this year.  This was exactly how they announced it.

The show will take a break next year and return in 2015 allowing the production team to refocus the event and seek new sponsorship opportunities.

There are many who are not aware of this form of art. Body art uses the human body as a means of artistic expression.  In layman terms, it is body painting.  The past year’ shows were spectacular Body Art Showcase and Awards nights for young and emerging artists who competed across a diverse range of genres that includes special effects, fantasy, creatures, prosthetic masks and body painting.

Simply said, body art is a spectacular show.  I honestly have no idea why we had to miss out on the show this year.  The date for next year’s show had just been announced where we are expecting an evening of celebrating creativity and entertainment featuring artists not only from around New Zealand but from all around the world.

You may think that all models in the show has to have Victoria Secret bodies.  This is not necessarily so because the focus is on the artists’ creativity, their paintings on whatever body shape and size.  This is what true art is all about.  To me, it is the ability to beautify and polish what is available.

The coming show next year better happen otherwise I may go on a rally to recruit all body shapes to do the catwalk and all artists whether they are body art artists or anyone and everyone who are passionate to showcase their painting on human skin.  Those who go around doing graffiti on walls or other public places may be potentially our next body art artist.

You never know,  a body art with a difference may be in the pipeline.


Disclaimer :  This is the writer’s viewpoint (my voice) and certainly not the consensus of any talented body art artists or the general public.


Snazaroo Hand Painted Novice- Highly Commended: Cathy Davies Model: Allison Millair.  Image credit NZ Body Arts Award Facebook Page

Snazaroo Hand Painted Novice- Highly Commended: Cathy Davies Model: Allison Millair. Image credit NZ Body Arts Award Facebook Page



via Writing 101 : Your voice will find you
You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!

Writing 101 : Dear House …….

For this assignment I was told to pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29.

What’s the first word that jumps off the page?  Use this word as your springboard for inspiration.

I was looking for a word but that whole sentence was just shouting at me.



You’ll want a house on your own!

– Page 29, The Kite Runner –



Dear House

It is every mature human’s wish to have a house they could call their own.  On the streets, you and your kind stood tall and firm while this person and that person raise their hand and shout a price trying to outbid each other.  Sometimes you may even see someone sob when their dream house disappear before their eyes.

While the human race go around slaving and saving hard to buy their own house, have you ever wondered that you could stand a chance to leak and rot if you have a negligent owner?  You might even end up being a dilapidated house.  What if the humans decide one day to give up the house chasing game altogether and live in camper vans or boats instead or sophisticated tents with the advent of new technology?

Hence this letter is a tip and a gentle reminder.

On your big day tomorrow when I join the group of other bidders to raise my hand for you, do open your eyes and watch out for this lady in red.  Blow the lucky charm on her.  Make yourself within reach, affordable.  Make our marriage possible for your own good.

There is a saying that a house will beckon to its the rightful owner, something we humans called fate.

Be my house and you will be loved.

Yours truly
Perfect Houseowner (Miss)



Home Sweet Home Image credit http://galleryhip.com/cartoon-homes.html

Home Sweet Home
Image credit http://galleryhip.com/cartoon-homes.html


via Writing 101 : To whom it may concern
Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.

Writing 101 : Serially found – My new wheels

Once upon a time for a whole five years, my company car had been my image, my identity. A purple hatchback with two huge company logos, one on each side of the passenger door was no joke. I even lost my name when the local café owners called me the X (company’s name) lady and my chidren grew up as the X kids.

That image was serially lost when I gave up being a career woman to a home maker.

I found my next wheels in a crowded room. There were rows of cars, some almost new, all in tip top condition brightly polished. The venue was a big warehouse with lots of inside parking and rows of chairs with people, some seated, some standing, several on their cellphones facing two big white boards, two stands and two rostrums, company officials neatly dressed in the front and two very aggressive speakers.

Two auctions were going on simultaneously. The auctioneer to the left was selling a charcoal Mazda 3.

11,100 do I hear another hundred?
11,400, 11,700, 12,000
Going once, going twice

The hammer came down. A sales person walked towards me, led me to the office to complete the formalities. The deal was closed.

My criteria was simple. It must not be purple. This time, it must be ME before the car and not the CAR before me.

Serially found. My new wheels.


That's not my new wheels.  Can you spot me anywhere?                      Image credit cardealermagazine.co.nz

That’s not my new wheels. Image credit cardealermagazine.co.nz


via Writing 101 : Serially found
On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today, write about finding something.

Writing 101 : Happy Chinese New Year

When I think of Chap Chai Te’ng (mixed vegetable soup) I think of Chinese (lunar) New Year.

As a child right through to my twenties as a young mother to three children, Chinese New Year meant new clothes and new shoes. My favourite day of the festival was the evening before new year. That’s when all the family came round for a banquet, the reunion dinner. The dish that symbolizes the occasion is my aunt’s specialty Chap Chai Te’ng cooked with chicken, prawn balls, fish balls, cabbage, vermicelli (glass noodles), bean curd sticks, black fungus (bok jee) in chicken soup. It is a dish of many mixtures although I have no idea why it is called Chap Chai when the only vegetable in the dish is cabbage.

This special dish, amongst other Nyonya authentic dishes that my aunt lovingly cooked for us showed her love for her family. The salt, the spices, the vegetables, the meat the condiments were all mixed and cooked over low flame for hours to bring out the flavor. Everything was made from scratch. The hours she spent, the joy she gets watching the family savour her cooking. I have not tried making this dish but as I am relaying this story the slow cooker image popped into my head. I wonder if the results will be the same if I put all the ingredients into my slow cooker, turn the power on then leave for work and call my family round for dinner one night.

That’s the love of a modern-day mother for her family.  So much less sweat to shower love in the modern world.  It is almost like cheating, taking the easy way out.  Nothing is impossible with technologies but I wonder if my son or my daughters are free to make the call. It’s not easy trying to get everyone round, (sigh) ……… perhaps I should wait for a special occasion like Chinese New Year or my birthday.


Nyonya Chap Chai from Restoran Aunty Lee.  Image credit Trip Advisor

Nyonya Chap Chai from Restoran Aunty Lee. Image credit Trip Advisor


via Writing 101
Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.




Related article

Check out Nyonya Chap Chai recipe from Fatbo

Writing 101 : Point of View

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry.  Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

via Writing 101



The man
He enjoys his walk with his wife. That is one of their comfort times. For the last six months, the couple had been spending quality time together and he makes it a point to get home early at least twice a week to do their regular walk amongst other activities, just the two of them. He feels a little emotional today.  Today is one of those days that he gets more sensitive than usual. He misses her so much.

They walked past the duck pond and saw an old woman sitting on a bench underneath the cherry blossom tree, knitting.  As they walk closer, he saw her putting her final touches on a small, red sweater.

That red sweater.

He was taken back to the hospital room. His little girl in her red sweater drew her last breath and did not respond to her name anymore.  Back to the present in the park, he feels so weak, squeezes his wife’s hand tightly and tears started rolling down his cheeks.



The woman
Her love for her husband has grown stronger and stronger everyday and often times, she ccould sense how he feels and what he is thinking just by looking at him or by touching him.  She feels the grasp of his hand on hers and the emptiness he feels now found its way into her.

The late afternoon sun is still quite strong but she feels the chills.  As they walk, hand in hand on the circular walkway in silence, she is trying to find a answer why their little angel was taken away from them so soon.  Forcing herself to the present, she feels the consolation.  She has never ever feel so close, so connected to her husband as much as now, not even when they were dating.  The times they both shared and gone through for the last six months together is like two beings supporting one body, two hearts with the same emotion, two people sharing one loss.

Her eyes caught the red sweater and feeling the squeeze of his hand on hers turned her head and saw his tears.  She has no tears left but her heart hurts to see him cry.  She uses both her hands to wipe his tears, gives him a little hug and carry on walking hand in hand.



The old woman
She is worried.  Her eyes are not as sharp as they used to be but she still has her love for knitting.  She likes the sun on her face and the few hours each day she goes out from her back garden door leading to this park.  This bench is her favourite spot.

She holds that newly knitted red sweater and smile to herself showing a missing tooth.  Little two year old Emily will look good in red. She is going to persuade her daughter that she is capable to care for herself.  Retirement home is for oldies, not her.  She picks up her knitting needles, wool, the newly knitted red sweater, her reading glasses and places everything into a rattan bag.  She gets up from the bench just as the couple walk past her.

Strangers living in their own world, she didn’t see their pain.






Writing 101 : Death of adverbs

Come with us

to this place

private to you

public to them

a room of many continents.


Most were seated, staring at their computer screen with their fingers on keyboard. Numerous cubicles, ten or more per row and there were just so many rows across the whole room maybe at least more than one hundred feet long.

It was not a busy evening so you could see some reading books or munching away chippies or chocolate bars. Yet no clique or chatters.  A big team of diligent workers.  Looking top down, you could see blonde, red, black, brown or even tints of colourful heads, all wearing headphones. The skin tones in this room were a complete mix of black, brown and white.  English was the spoken language but it was amazing that you not only heard local Kiwi or neigbouring Aussie.  You might have thought you were calling America , Phillipines , India , South East Asia or maybe one of the Pacific islands of Tonga or Samoa.  The room was a true diversification of all nationalities made up of people of all colours, shapes and sizes. Some tall and lanky, others of average built and many plus sizes.

The wall was decorated with many posters, flatscreen televisions and colorful slogan “Come with Us”.  No one said “hello” over their mouthpieces but walking around the room, you could see words of “hello” in different languages displayed in many colors.  I would have thought “hello” is a word to be spoken not written.

“Come with us.”

I know I did not kill all the adverbs.  Please help me reword and kill them all.





via Writing 101: Death to adverbs

Go to a local café, park, or public place and report on what you see.  Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.